27th Apr 2009
I need to note from the outset that Winton appears to have been present for the entire event, but clearly did not witness the actual assault itself.
This footage taken by a member of the public and passed to the IPCC and the Guardian newspaper includes footage of the photographer, as he notes himself on his blog:
“New footage has been released of the Ian Tomlinson incident …. and in it plain as day is wee me taking pictures (long black coat, white shirt, blue jeans). http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2009/apr/21/g20-ian-tomlinson-new-video” – Callum Winton on his blog (source)
This first screen capture (00:31) shows Winton walking past Tomlinson as the police line advances toward them:
The assault is not captured in this footage, but the camera swings around just in time to catch Tomlinson hitting the ground, and to show that Winton’s view of Tomlinson is blocked by a building/pillar. This second screen capture (00:49 and 01:05) and shows Winton seemingly unaware of Tomlinson’s assault as he turns away to inspect his camera:
Note how Callum Winton is oblivious to the crowd’s reaction to the event.
Note also that the police are herding the public, which leads to the assault preceding Tomlinson’s collapse.
Also, please keep in mind that something between 3 to 5 minutes passes (timeline) before Tomlinson collapses after walking off in the same direction as Winton.
So, time passes, and Tomlinson collapses. Callum Winton does not witness the collapse, but happens across the prone figure of Tomlinson. He takes some pictures, notices the man is not well, then goes back to the police line and alerts them to Tomlinson’s condition:
“When I was there I found a man that had collapsed. I took a couple of pics of him and then I realised he was in trouble. So I ran and got the police, but by the time we got back I think he’d passed away.” – Callum Winton on his blog (source)
Callum Winton then returns to the scene of Tomlinson’s collapse at the same time as the police.
Compare the picture taken upon his return showing the woman protestor treating Tomlinson to this other video provided to the Guardian newspaper, where four things can be seen in quick succession:
00:10 – The woman protestor treating Tomlinson is moved away by police, who proceed to treat Tomlinson themselves
00:18 – A single clear (probably plastic) bottle is thrown, angering and dismaying the crowd
00:23 – Callum Winton, now on the other side of Tomlinson, can be seen no more than 12-15ft feet from where that single missile landed (after striking a police officer on the arm at about waist height)
00:25 – Mr ‘Back The Fuck Up’ swings into action, making it clear to those not within immediate earshot that someone is hurt. The crowd is unhappy, but eager to cooperate. No other missiles are captured in the footage.
It is at this stage that we turn to a Sun article published the day after this event.
Callum Winton appears to be the single source for this entire article, pictures and all, though when he blogs about it, he appears to be quite surprised:
(Note – Mr Winton later blogs that he intends to donate the “fair price for any freelance images they’ve used” to charity.)
The best I can make out from what’s been published by The Sun, and what’s been published and claimed by Callum Winton, is that a Sun reporter took a statement at some stage and Winton was unaware that he was doing so and/or was unaware that the man taking it was a Sun reporter or somehow connected to that newspaper. However it happened, Callum Winton winds up as the only named witness in a short article also containing his pictures:
Keen tabloid observers will note the headline that might suggest to casual observers that it was the bottles themselves that killed Tomlinson.
Also, take note of the claim that beer bottles and cans were thrown, as we’ll be getting back to this shortly:
The Sun – Man dies as bottles lobbed at rescuers (2 Apr, 2009)
POLICE were battered with beer bottles and cans as they desperately tried to save a dying man at the height of the G20 riots in London last night.
The casualty, believed to be in his mid-40s, was knocked to the floor amid the mob near the Bank of England.
But when cops struggled through the crowd to reach him, they were pelted with missiles. They finally got to him and set up a cordon as two ambulances rushed to the scene.
Officers gave the man mouth-to-mouth before paramedics tried in vain to save him.
Photographer Callum Winton, 37, said: “A guy was lying on the ground. His eyes were glazed over, he didn’t look at all well.
“I told the police and they tried to reach him — but were being forced back by the protesters. There were bottles and missiles raining down on them.”
The man, shaven headed and wearing a Millwall FC top with a grey T-shirt over the top, died at the scene.
Callum added: “Police were trying to break up the crowd, which was getting out of control, throwing things at buildings.
“Officers charged and pushed them back to get them away from buildings. It was chaos.”
Please take care to note that while this article does so poorly and is prone to misinterpretation, it does relate a sequence of a events where police were pelted with multiple missiles prior to their treatment of Tomlinson, and not during as some people have been suggesting.
The police, for example, claimed at one stage that they felt compelled to move Mr Tomlinson because of the missiles thrown during his treatment:
“The officers took the decision to move him as during this time a number of missiles – believed to be bottles – were being thrown at them.” – Met statement (source)
And Callum Winton made a similar claim on his weblog on the day of the event:
At or about the same time that Callum Winton was taking this picture (large version), the video footage described above showing the cordon/treatment of Tomlinson was being captured from almost directly behind him:
Callum Winton is unlikely to have seen and heard something very different to what was captured on video here, because as Winton himself has confirmed via email, he is in the foreground of the video footage while looking at the same event (i.e. he sees and hears the almost the same visual and audio information that the camera records).
That video footage shows a single clear bottle being thrown. That bottle does not appear to smash on impact, and is most likely plastic from what we can see/hear of the footage.
The police were certainly not “working on reviving the man amid flying bottles and breaking glass”, unless the mood changed quite suddenly after this footage was taken just in time for Callum Winton to capture the image he claims to have taken “amid flying bottles and breaking glass” (that doesn’t actually show any flying bottles or breaking/broken glass) just before the police moved Tomlinson to avoid the “number* of missiles” being thrown a them.
(*People sometimes forget that ‘one’ is a number.)
I’ve since emailed Callum Winton and asked him about a few of these conflicts and inconsistencies:
1. Three times he avoided answering a specific question about him being the likely/implied source of the claim that beer bottles and cans were thrown. He would not confirm or deny being the source of this claim, but I should point out that it’s just as likely that this was added as (ahem) a dramatic touch by someone at The Sun with an active if limited imagination and/or an anti-protestor agenda. (Callum Winton’s statements on his blog also make it clear that he did not see Tomlinson being ‘knocked down’ by the mob or anyone else.)
2. Callum Winton claimed that “3 Bottles were thrown. No cans.” and that “they were thrown and hit the building above our heads so that we were showered in glass.” He also pointed out, as he did in his statement to The Sun, that “all the protestors turned against the people throwing them shouting at them to stop as the police medics were trying to help Mr.T”, so while he appears to be describing the same events seen in this video, there are a number of glass missiles that should be visible and audible (according to his account), but are not.
3. I say ‘glass missiles‘ because Mr Winton also stated that he did not actually see any missiles in their pre-impact state. He could only say that “it was glass in one form or another” and “solid like bottles”. So The Sun article opens with a paragraph stating that; “police were battered with beer bottles and cans”… but the only named witness in that article did not see any cans thrown and was not in a position to identify any missile as a beer bottle specifically, or even as a glass bottle generally.
Mr Winton had nothing of relevance to add after seeing the video footage that casts so much doubt on his version of events, but he did take the time to assure me that it was suddenly none of my business, and that if I wished to speak with him further it would have to be on a professional basis:
“I’m a working photographer, so if you want a couple of hours of my time then you can book me for a portrait session. You bring bottles and I’ll bring a camera ;o)” – Callum Winton
I think that last part may have been a joke, but being a humourless lefty I can’t really be sure.
Anyway, just between you and me and everyone else who thinks this is their business, I suspect that Callum Winton might be a little bit confused.
I don’t mean that in a nasty ‘mental’ tag way, I mean… well, just take a look at this account of Winton’s as related by The Sun:
(Do keep in mind that the police line Winton returns to is in the process of herding the crowd as part of a kettling operation, and that they drove Tomlinson before them after one of their number had assaulted him. In other words, the police have contributed to Tomlinson’s condition, and created the circumstances that allegedly make it difficult to reach him. All of this applies regardless of what is thrown where and when.)
But when cops struggled through the crowd to reach him, they were pelted with missiles. They finally got to him and set up a cordon as two ambulances rushed to the scene… Photographer Callum Winton, 37, said: “A guy was lying on the ground. His eyes were glazed over, he didn’t look at all well. I told the police and they tried to reach him — but were being forced back by the protesters. There were bottles and missiles raining down on them.” – Callum Winton as quoted by The Sun
Now, this statement and the way it’s presented/introduced allows for (and appears to specifically, if clumsily, describe) circumstances where multiple glass missiles and/or bottles were thrown and/or police were impeded to some extent some distance from Tomlinson, before he was surrounded and treated by police. But remember that the day before it was published, Callum Winton had written on his weblog that he had witnessed this barrage of missiles during the period in which he was surrounded/treated by police:
The evidence would suggest that Callum missed the assault and the collapse, but then happened across the (lone?) prone figure of Ian Tomlinson, took a few pictures, went to get help, witnessed the smashing of bottles at some stage some distance away from Tomlinson, before returning to witness the treatment of Tomlinson by police, seeing a single plastic bottle thrown at that moment and later compressing/conflating the two events to unfortunate effect.
The “beer bottles and cans” are likely to be a fanciful addition to the tale courtesy of the tabloid press, but it is equally possible that Callum Winton registered the way Ian Tomlinson looked or smelled (and/or the people around him talking of Tomlinson’s drunken state) on some level, conscious or not, and simply added the word ‘beer’ to ‘bottle’ without even thinking about what this might imply.
Winton had not witnessed the assault and did not even register the crowd’s reaction to it (which is a likely cause of any extraordinary disturbance Winton describes when he goes to fetch the police from the same location where police have stood by after one of their own assaulted a member of the public).
Further, Winton appears to be a stranger to the lifestyle of Ian Tomlinson and your typical socially-conscious protestor**. It would be very easy for a man in his position to confuse, blur or totally misunderstand the relationship between an apparently drunken man and a crowd that appears (to him) to be angry for no good reason.
(**Note – on the latter, he has consistently described the day as “the G20 riots” in his communication with me.)
So please understand that I’m not judging or demonising Mr Winton, but I really think that he should spend some time thinking about the statements he has volunteered to the newspapers and to the IPCC, and seriously considering clarifying them, at least to the extent that they don’t appear quite so contradictory.
And I’m not going to hold my breath, but The Sun really needs to withdraw that claim that “police were battered with beer bottles and cans as they desperately tried to save a dying man” if they can’t produce a witness or evidence to back it up.
Ditto for any implication that he was “knocked to the floor amid the mob” by anyone but a policeman.
21st Apr 2009
[Psst! See also: what Iain still describes as a spam/DOS attack]
Yes, I called and emailed Iain. A lot.
And I regard that to be entirely fair, because he had a lot of explaining to do.
He still does:
On 18 March 2009, Iain Dale agreed to get in touch with the Conservative MP Patrick Mercer and warn him that ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey was a loose cannon, falsely accusing me of being a convicted paedophile, and likely to do him significant political damage. Despite my explaining it to Iain that I needed him to do this because I was having trouble getting past Mercer’s staff, Iain decided that he would not contact Mercer directly and would instead talk to his staff… who did not pass his message on.
Some people (mostly anonymous people) have been suggesting that it was Iain’s business if he didn’t want to get involved, but he did get involved. Further, he promised to do a specific thing to help, didn’t do that, and then lied about it.
Regardless of what Iain was thinking when he contacted Mercer’s staff instead of Mercer himself as requested, I responded to Iain’s eventual ‘contact made’ email by leaving him in no doubt that I now believed that Patrick Mercer was aware of Jenvey’s actions. Iain knew this wasn’t the case, but he let me carrying on thinking it.
Why? Was he hoping that I’d falsely accuse Mercer of being a willing participant in the smears? Or did he simply not think or care enough about the incident to help me properly or correct me when I was falsely under the impression that he had completed an agreed task?
I let this go at the time, partly because I had police and ISPs and webmasters and newspaper editors to chase, plus I had only just ‘met’ Mercer and couldn’t be sure who was telling the truth when I finally reached Mercer myself and he claimed it was the first he’d heard of any of it.
One of the questions raised by Iain’s brief description of the action that he did take was why exactly Patrick Mercer’s staff weren’t passing my correspondence on or even discussing the issue with their boss.
- When I produced proof of Glen Jenvey falsifying evidence of extremism, they didn’t pass any of it on.
- When I produced and later authenticated audio of Glen Jenvey boasting about several things, including his use of an alias (‘Richard Tims’) that he had earlier denied using, they didn’t pass any of it on.
- When I named Jenvey’s accomplice – the younger brother of a man who sits on Mercer’s executive committee – they didn’t pass any of it on.
- When, after I named Jenvey’s accomplice and anonymous claims that I was a paedophile immediately started appearing and were also reliably linked to Jenvey, they didn’t pass any of that information on, either!
But only Iain knows what was said to whom on that last and quite crucial occasion… and he’s not talking.
He even repeatedly refused to take my calls when I was literally begging him to cooperate with me, just to the extent of helping me fill two gaps in the revised statement I was due to give to police after the Easter weekend.
A claim popped up at one stage that Iain was sharing information with Jenvey, but I had every reason to distrust it and said so to Iain. I repeatedly explained to Iain that I would probably only be including his name and contact details in the statement if he left me with no choice but to put this data in the gaps left by the account/answers he refused to give me.
In other words, Iain forced me advise the police that they would have to ask him personally what happened that day if they wanted to know, because
your mother Iain isn’t speaking to me. Pretty rich from a man who often complains bitterly about wasted/squandered resources paid for by the taxpayer, and extraordinarily childish and petty to boot.
Iain later made this false claim (in comments here) as part of his justification for the ‘parish notice’ hissy fit;
“[Tim] has told the Police that I am conspiring with the person who has been smearing him.”
This is not true. Further, Iain knows that I suspected him only because I was amazed at how evasive he was being (still!), and that I called and emailed him many times at one stage because he refused to even acknowledge receipt of an email that explained this point to him in some detail:
I was trying to avoid including Iain Dale in the statement, but his refusal to communicate left me with no choice (regardless of what I may or may not believe about what his intentions are/were).
More recently, Iain Dale has been refusing to confirm or deny if any of Glen Jenvey’s paedo-smears were submitted to his website, and if so, when.
I mainly need this to draw up a complete picture of when and where these smears appeared. I do not blame Iain for allowing the smears to go live any more than I blame any of the other webmasters who found themselves hosting these smears, but he and Paul Staines are the only likely recipients refusing to confirm or deny receipt of these smears.
As the ‘smeargate’ campaign spiralled out of control, Iain Dale was making false claims based on single sources and seeing them into print, and many lazy journalists were taking what was claimed on various right-wing blogs and either airing it with a half-hearted health warning or taking the claim(s) at face value.
Meanwhile, familiar faces started appearing on the Paul Staines order-order.com website repeating ugly claims that I’m secretly in the pay/employ of Downing Street, the Labour party and/or the government/party via a certain Cabinet Minister (the same one Dale was publishing false claims about).
Several claims also rewrote history to the extent of painting me as a supporter of Derek Draper, when the opposite is true and was true even before ‘smeargate’.
I took the position that I was no longer going to stand for these false claims, especially in the current climate, on the websites of Paul Staines or Iain Dale or anyone else likely to be taken far too seriously by the press.
At the same time that Iain Dale was making out that I had no good reason to repeatedly call and email him (and pretending that I was threatening him with anything other than calling him to account, publicising his antics and/or greatly complicating the techniques he uses to have others do his dirty work for him under comments), Paul Staines was deleting all such claims from his website. Yes, that Paul Staines. Everybody who is anybody in British political blogging knows how difficult it is to get Staines to take such things seriously without a legal letter, and that he is not likely to want to do me any favours.
So surely Iain Dale can appreciate that I might have a point about any similar claims published on his website… but he doesn’t even want to talk about it.
Iain has taken this long past any point where he can contend with any credibility that I’m having a go at him just because he’s a Tory and/or that I’m jealous of his success and/or that I’m just trying to get at him because I’ve been hiding my medication inside lumps of uneaten gristle and the voices keep telling me that he’s the Antichrist.
He’s also got a nerve pretending (yet again) that I have been unreasonable about this at any/every stage rather than quite upset at one final stage after being dragged to the end of my tether by his continued pretence of ‘ignoring’ me while publishing false claims about me in his website.
And yes, he damn well owes me some answers.
I don’t plan on quitting until I get them, and here’s one good reason why:
When Usmanov knocked me offline, a couple of jackals took it upon themselves to take the opportunity to make false claims about me when my website was down.
The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that there are others who have a grudge against me who are also taking advantage of the Jenvey smears.
Regardless of how much of any of this results from Iain Dale taking advantage of the Jenvey smears etc., I cannot afford to send a signal that I will allow any false claim about me to stand unchallenged on any widely-read site that enjoys mainstream credibility.
Iain Dale must respond. He’s the editor of a mainstream magazine (that brands itself as politically neutral, no less). What choice does he have?
I’ll be in his face and complicating his every effort to play this down and carry on with business as usual until he does. What choice do I have?
(Psst! If anyone wants to play the peacemaker, please keep in mind that the path to a resolution involves what Iain has been avoiding all this time; dialogue.)
21st Apr 2009
The chief inspector of police describes some of the behaviour of police officers at the G20 protests as “unacceptable”.
Taking questions from MPs on the home affairs select committee, Mr O’Connor also said it was “totally unacceptable” for police officers to conceal their number IDs, as several of them appeared to be doing during the protests.
But London Mayor Boris Johnson has been defending the overall police handling of the protests.
I think it’s entirely fair to expect an inquiry into the police not wearing badge numbers, the frequency with which this happened on the day and in general, and the possible causes behind it. Ditto for the known use of unnecessary force and the not-unrelated use of ‘kettling’ as a tactic.
Also, most of the negative PR concerning the police has resulted from their own efforts to skew the debate!
20th Apr 2009
20th Apr 2009
Days after the 2006 podcast featured in this clip, it was revealed that the target of these smears had sex with men, and Paul Staines fronted up to the world (behind his mask, natch) and asked; “Did it hint enough?”
So on top of everything else, Paul Staines needs it explained to him that being homosexual/bisexual does not make you a paedophile.
(Paul also seems to think that having a dash of minority about you makes it impossible for you to be racist, but that’s for another time.)
The only thing that makes this smear from Paul Staines (and Alex Hilton) in any way rare is the fact that we have audio of it, because Paul Staines regularly publishes peristant smears on his website, and I’ve had to take action over these myself recently:
Paul Staines is a libertarian who will happily peddle smears that undermine governments, any government and any political party. That’s his role, and one he is eminently comfortable fulfilling.
Paul Staines also has a vested interest in upping page views in order to boost his advertising revenue via the banner advertising network MessageSpace (in which he plays a murky but integral part), and he must know the value of the page loads generated by his policy of allowing people to smear just about anyone under comments on his website. Only a fool would fail to recognise the draw of a widely-read website that allows Westminster wannabes to share unsubstantiated rumours…. and/or how unsubstantiated rumours evolve into ‘open secrets’ via the simple process of repetition from multiple* sources.
(*Or single people pretending to be multiple sources, right Paul?)
Back in 2007, Guido spent months attempting to convince his blog’s many readers that Gordon Brown had been photographed on a rocking horse wearing a nappy, and to utilise the power of search engine optimisation and Google to spread this ridiculous tale across the entire internet. It even made it onto Wikipedia, and when I tried to remove it, some patsy came along and reverted my edit.
He also gave house-room to a sock puppet called “Stanislav” who suggested, in one particularly disgusting post, that the Prime Minister had been steadily driven mad by the strain of repressing his “homosexuality” over many years – part of a deadly serious attempt by the right to fix the idea of Gordon as a “weirdo” in the public’s mind.
None of this in any way excuses the suggestion that David Cameron is suffering from some embarrassing health complaint. But it does put it into perspective, and should serve as a corrective to those tempted to hail Guido as the new conscience of British public life.
Paul Staines’ repeated claim that he is not responsible for the content of comments because he doesn’t read them is eighteen flavours of flatulence, not least because he’s pretty damn quick to delete any comments that highlight less-than-flattering data about him and/or his close mates.
Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) is a hypocritical spin-doctoring smear merchant, an unapologetic drunkard, a danger to shipping… and our new sheriff.
After years of nicking stuff from Private Eye and then loftily sniffing that he does not even read that magazine, he’s now being heralded in some places as its replacement.
Of course, this absurd level of praise comes to us from the site of the same man who now touts Alex Hilton as the natural choice to fill the void left by the departure of Derek Draper, so there’s a very real possibility that some or all of what you’re reading could be influenced to some small degree by self-serving political/professional propaganda.
(Sorry to go off like a totally nutty conspiracy theorist and all that.)
UPDATE – This is an unrelated item that belongs here anyway. More on Iain ‘half of the story‘ Dale later.
17th Apr 2009
BBC – G20 death was not heart attack: A police officer has been interviewed under caution for manslaughter after a new post-mortem overturned the cause of Ian Tomlinson’s death… Now a fresh examination has found he died of abdominal haemorrhage, not a heart attack, as originally thought. Lawyers for the family said the new post-mortem raised the likelihood of a manslaughter charge… “Dr Cary’s opinion is that the cause of death was abdominal haemorrhage. The cause of the haemorrhage remains to be ascertained. Dr Cary accepts that there is evidence of coronary atherosclerosis but states that in his opinion its nature and extent is unlikely to have contributed to the cause of death.” … The [coroner Dr Cary's] statement concluded that both the opinions remained provisional and subject to further investigations and tests. In a response, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said: “Following the initial results of the second post mortem, a Metropolitan police officer has been interviewed under caution for the offence of manslaughter as part of an ongoing nquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson.”
As per the last post, I’m going to need a moment. With you shortly.
UPDATE – People are going to be very angry about this, but I want to stress that there is something here that has not changed, and I’m going to use a comment I made before this latest coroner’s statement was issued to help others appreciate it:
[Please understand that I normally quote and link to sources, but this was a rare political debate at the site involved, such things are generally (if gently) discouraged at that site, and I'm not entirely sure if "I told you so, Stan!" is a place that I want to go to.]
There were multiple assaults at the G20 protest events. Most of them resulted from the practice known as ‘kettling’, which is claimed to have a calming effect of crowds, but appears to be used to justify the use of violence against protestors… whether that’s at an individual or institutional level in unknown at this point.
(One peek at the medic laying into protestors with a baton from behind the police line is enough to make many worry about the state of Teh State, but further images show a fellow officer trying to restrain him showing that some parts of the system are still working as they should.)
Further, we also have video evidence of two officers clearly abusing/exceeding their authority, and both of these officers had obscured badge numbers.
The officer who back-handed and batoned the woman the day after Tomlinson died was wearing epaulette covers designed for this purpose:
None of this has changed.
But a full, undiluted and independent inquiry into both practices should now be regarded as a certainty. We shouldn’t have to march on any police stations to get it.
[Let's hear it announced in very good time, please, police and government peeps. Don't make us
stalk chase you.]
17th Apr 2009
I once made the mistake of telling Iain how much it meant to me personally that he had finally taken the responsible step of introducing comment registration on his Blogger.com-hosted site. My exact words at the time were “it’s 80% of the problem between us” and he was quite struck by this revelation.
Not only does this act stink of petty revenge, but regardless of what he claims, he knows what the most likely effect will be now he has removed the main obstacle to those who use multiple identities in his comments. This is an escalation that he is dressing up as a minor bit of housekeeping:
Iain Dale – Parish Notice: The Sequel: Following yesterday’s events I have been pre-moderating all comments. I have had several emails from people suggesting that if I am doing that, I might as well re-allow anonymous comments. A few weeks ago I did a poll of readers which showed that by a 53-40 margin you wanted to see that facility restored. I decided that this was not a big enough margin to do it, as the current system seemed to be working well. However, I do think that if I am pre-moderating there is more of a case for it. I should make clear that this is not an invitation to unleash the dogs of war…
But this won’t help him any more than comment moderation will, as I have pointed out to him personally and explained publicly in this updated version of the ‘fan club’ post.
He’s wasting his time and putting his readers through needless inconvenience(s). And using them a bit, too, if we’re to be honest.
And he’s having them on if he’s making this out to be a rush attack or mass invasion. It’s far more elegant than that, and completely justified.
(Why send 100 messages when we can simply make him worry about the 1 comment in 100 to the point where he actually reads all of what he publishes?)
I wonder how Iain will deal with people pretending to be me pretending to be other people? I can tell you from experience that this is now bound to happen in the climate he’s created.
And what’s his exit strategy? He can’t keep moderation on forever, and he knows from past experience that (a) he can’t possibly hope to keep up with comment free-for-alls, and (b) it’s only a matter of time before his anonymob goes sour on him again.
And why is he going through all of this when all he has to do is engage like a sensible person and discuss our recent disagreement(s) and/or the many claims he has published about me (and others) that he cannot back with evidence?
16th Apr 2009
All email to bloggerheads.com has been temporarily suspended in order to keep the site stable during the clean up after an exceptional spam attack today (a coincidence that I can assure you has little to nothing* to do with Iain Dale).
If you wish to reach me by email before tomorrow, please use the gmail address:
bloggerheads DOT com AT googlemail DOT com
If you have sent an email today and I have not answered you, then you will have to wait until tomorrow or resend your message via Gmail.
(*I say ‘little to nothing’ rather than ‘nothing’ because some people have reacted to Iain’s side of the story by submitting my email address to BNP newsletters and the like, so there’s an incremental influence, but I mention that merely to be accurate. I wouldn’t want to play it like the vicar and give a false impression of who has been doing what.)
16th Apr 2009
Last night I ran out of patience with both Paul Staines and Iain Dale and their repeatedly publishing/allowing false claims about me on their respective websites. Typically, these are often confused with banter or abuse (or deliberately presented as banter or abuse), but I made it clear to Paul Staines yesterday that I would no longer be tolerating the repeated claim that I am a paid servant of Tom Watson, the Labour party or the government, because it simply isn’t true.
Paul Staines has now removed a large number of these false claims from his website, and I’ll conduct a further check later (it may take a while as this been going on for years) but he has acted on everything on the shortlist of archived entries I made privately last night (i.e. a list that Paul has not seen), so he is taking this seriously and actively seeking out relevant errant entries. Good.
(If you spot any more, let me know, as we have an agreement that no such claim is to be tolerated on the order-order.com website ever again.)
Compare this to the actions of Iain Dale, who refuses to even discuss this matter (or any other), and is now winding his readers up and publishing false claims that I’m a mental case, along with further allegations/implications that I’m only upset about false claims that I’m in the pay/employ of Tom Watson, the Labour party or the government because… erm… I’m in the pay/employ of Tom Watson, the Labour party or the government!
This pigheaded publication of outright lies on his site about me and others while I am banned from responding should give you some idea why I might have cause to re-dial Iain about 40 times last night (while he was busy being hilarious and deleting comments from me but not about me on his site). I wasn’t going to stand for it any more and I wanted the ‘in pay of’ matter at least settled immediately. I still do.
The ‘threats’ he speaks of are actions I will be forced to take if he continues to publish false claims about my integrity (again) and now mental state (again) on his website.
Again, I will be trying to resolve the conflict without turning to libel lawyers, but Iain’s appallingly dishonest escalation today isn’t leaving me much choice.
REMEMBER: FFS, as with Staines, I’m not asking Dale for a front-page apology or a humiliating climbdown… I know he’s far too precious for that. All I asked him to do last night was remove claims about me from his website that he could not back with evidence, and he wouldn’t even bloody well talk to me. He still won’t, even when he’s blogging about me *and* and letting his readers slag me off under comments…. which is, you know, a major part of what I’m upset about in the first place.
16th Apr 2009
The Iain Dale Fan Club started at midday on April 16, 2009, after Iain Dale stood by and allowed me to be smeared as a paedophile*, refused to discuss that, banned me from the comments on his website for daring to press the matter, and then refused to remove further false claims about me published on his website.
[*MINI-UPDATE (22 Apr) - Here's a handy summary of all of that for you.]
Iain failed to understand at the time that the only thing making his ban effective was my refusal to ‘sock-puppet’ on his Blogger.com-hosted website like so many of his supporters.
So… The Iain Dale Fan Club begins with nine honorary members and nine rules:
The Iain Dale Fan Club Rules
The first rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is you do not talk about the Iain Dale Fan Club.
The second rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is you do not talk about the Iain Dale Fan Club.
The third rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that membership is by invitation only.
The fourth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that you must earn your invitation by getting Iain Dale to lose his temper and/or delete your comments over a fair challenge to any of his false/misleading/incorrect claims a total of five times (i.e. to earn your five ‘points’ to start).
The fifth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that you can earn a bonus two points toward your starting five – once – if Iain misses the point and/or loses his temper to the point where he specifically accuses you of trolling and/or of correcting/challenging his false/misleading/incorrect claims only because you want to be a member of the Iain Dale Fan Club.
The sixth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that – if you are invited – you must, when instructed, create an alternative identity (i.e. a sock-puppet) or series of same and only make comments of the following variety on the main website of that notorious blog-cheat and thin-skinned Tory propagandist…
Directed at Iain, his writing, or items that he has endorsed:
- gushing praise
- naive, unquestioning agreement
Directed at Iain’s enemies and those who dare question his wisdom under comments:
- childish, puerile and/or witless put-downs
- vicious attacks
The seventh rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that you must not ‘sock puppet’ on any other site ever, ever, ever. No excuses.
The eighth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that the ninth rule will not be revealed to you until an invitation has been issued and initiation is complete.
The ninth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is [classified].
Here we go, folks. Hang loose for a few hours or days depending on your schedule. No sense us all turning up at once and being too conspicuous, like.
UPDATE – A quick update for non-members from a comment made elsewhere, which is probably worth a mention here given the naked vicar’s narrative:
Iain once admitted to me that he often lets comments go live and conversations go on without really reading/checking them (not mine, obviously). Even with moderation on, he will often let through maybe 20 at a time without checking them first (not today, obviously). This is not a very clever, safe or considerate thing to do. I’ve been on the wrong end of it far too often, and I am now going to make sure that Iain won’t be doing it again for a long, long time.
I we don’t have to break a sweat or any laws or any Blogger.com rules to do it, and it won’t matter if Iain has moderation switched on or off. The people ‘auditioning’ will look like regular (if sceptical) newcomers, and identifying Fan Club members will be problematic to say the least. If he makes good on his subtle threat to go back to unregistered comments, that just makes life easier.
Iain also once admitted that, despite his many claims of ‘NuLieBore’ sock-puppetry on his site, he considers himself completely incapable of tracking who is really saying what at any given time, and he couldn’t reliably identify a sock-puppet if he tried. In other words, he just yells ‘sock puppet’ at people he doesn’t like and lets his mates get on with being however many people they please.
If you think that sounds like a lousy way to run a site, you’re right… but the good news is that this shitty tactic is about to get a lot more complicated for Iain, too.
UPDATE (15 Sep 2010) – A private discussion (that, sadly, went nowhere constructive led to me revealing the grand and glorious secret rule to Iain Dale as a sign of good faith, and a summarised version follows:
CLASSIFIED: The ninth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that the instruction to create an alternative identity (i.e. a sock-puppet) or series of same and only make comments of the following variety etc. etc. on the main website of that notorious blog-cheat and thin-skinned Tory propagandist will never be issued, because sock-puppeting is wrong, and only tossers like Iain Dale and his supporters do it, or rely on others to do it for them.
So, now the secret’s out, the Iain Dale Fan Club is no more.
To explain it to the passers-by, newcomers and laymen out there; my main concern about what Iain Dale portrayed as comment ‘maintenance’ at the time (and long before this) was that he was allowing anonymous comments from supporters, but would sneer at anonymous comments from critics, or not publish them, and even accuse/half-accuse other critics of being behind them without any evidence, often blurring the line between abuse and criticism in the process. Often we would do this to the extent of allowing his site to be used as a platform for serious smears, accusations and implications submitted by people he could never hope to identify… but only if the accusations were against his critics and/or (dramatic sting) The Left.
Taking Dale at his word that it was not him personally behind these anonymous comments, it was my intention to complicate and thereby discourage his reliance on them; to inject doubt about who or where suspicious/OTT anonymous comments seemingly in his favour might be coming from. This is what he described as a ‘DOS’ attack at the time.
The Iain Dale Fan Club also served as a way to encourage interested parties (recruited as members) to stay away from Iain Dale’s site at this time; members were forbidden from leaving comments on his site until a certain instruction was issued… and they knew that instruction would never be issued. I did not want them needlessly embroiled in a flame war, anonymously attacked, or tempted to comment anonymously themselves (to avoid being called a ‘stooge’ or my ‘bitch’, for example). Granted, it did contain material encouraging potential ‘recruits’ to challenge Dale repeatedly (if openly and fairly), but I did not expect this to lead anywhere, didn’t hear from any potential recruits, and any one of us could have shut it down at any stage by revealing Rule #9.
My only regret is never knowing how many suspicious/OTT comments Dale deleted as a result (that he would not have deleted prior to this); but I do know he did not dare to disengage moderation for months after this, which greatly hampered his little game of allowing unacceptable content ‘unintentionally’ (see: How Iain Dale libelled Tom Watson (and me))
[*NOTE - The ninth rule has been ever-so-slightly updated in the interim, but only to give Iain Dale the benefit of the doubt when he claims not to have made any anonymous comments on his own site. Some harsh language has also been removed or moderated for reasons of propriety.]